Prostitution in France will no longer be a legal business as MPs rolled out a law making sex for sale illegal in the country.
The bill mandates a fine up to $4,274 to those who are caught paying for sex. Moreover, the convicted would need to attend counselling sessions to know about the problems faced by prostitutes.
The bill was passed in the lower house by 64 to 12, with 11 against the proposal. It was passed after a two-year controversial discussion between the two houses of parliament.
Some sex workers are crying foul. They protested against the repressive law outside the National Assembly, carrying banners and placards. One banner read “ “Don’t liberate me, I’ll take care of myself”.
A french union of sex workers, Strass, said that the new bill will affect the bread and butter of over 40,000 sex workers, reports BBC.
Although, backers of the law said that the new change will help fight the trafficking network. The bill also promises to pay EUR4.8 million per year to sex workers to quit the business. Moreover, if foreign prostitutes agree to look for jobs outside of the prostitution industry, it will be easier for them to get a temporary residence permit in France.
“The most important aspect of this law is to accompany prostitutes, give them identity papers because we know that 85% of prostitutes here are victims of trafficking,” Socialist MP Maud Olivier, who sponsored the legislation, was quoted saying.
“The goal is to diminish [prostitution], protect prostitutes who want to quit, and change mentalities” added Olivier.
The prostitution industry is also active on the Internet, where people offer to work as intermediaries between clients and sex workers. It is quite hard to detect the internet business model of prostitution to restrict the trade.
“Prostitution on the street is already starting to disappear because of the Internet”, Mylene Juste, a Paris prostitute, said to France 24.
“This is the way I want to live my life. I want to be free to work as a prostitute, even on the street. I don’t want to be on the Internet,” she added.